Agents of SHIELD: Paradise Lost

I suppose, since last week showed him looking into the future, and how shaken he was, the deep dive into Gideon Malick was coming. Also, the introduction of the daughter, who then was immediately forgotten about for nearly two weeks straight needed to circle back–why was she introduced? Must be know about the entire Malick family? I’ll be honest–I wanted the show to concentrate more on Coulson dealing with his failure to “kill” Ward. What I didn’t realize was that the two stories would be the same.

Coulson: I knew it would come back to haunt me. I just didn’t think it would… come back to haunt me.

There are times when the on the nose dialogue is enough to drive me nuts–like the line above, as Coulson tells Fitz he thought he’d be haunted by the guilt of killing Ward, not the actual possessed body of Ward himself following them back from the Blue Planet in such a literal way. But Hive is not only Ward. Hive is a creature who has inhabiting sacrificial victims like Ward for over the centuries. Sacrificial victims who were sent through the portal stone by the “ancient religion” who also happen to now be one with Hydra. And though the body that came back through is Ward’s, inside the mind of Hive are the memories of all those hosts from over the centuries–one of whom was Malick’s brother, who we met tonight via flashbacks.

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We also got to see Malick’s vision of what he believes is his own death this week, and he’ll die basically as you and I would expect. Hive will, sooner or later, suck all the flesh from his body and absorb his essence and leave the bloody skeleton for the maid service to deal with. But this is not that day. After all, Hive–and the part of Hive that holds all his brother Nathaniel’s memories of Gideon’s betrayal–wants him to live. Perhaps not a long time, but at least a while longer, alone with the cowardice that led Gideon to slip the notched white stone into the bag, as his father had done for decades before, so that when it was down to him and his brother, Gideon knew which stone to not pull. Gideon may have cried, knowing he let his brother be the one to pull that stone, but Gideon could have pulled the stone himself and let his brother live–and he didn’t.

May: You said you killed him.
Coulson: I did.
May: Well, you didn’t kill him hard enough.

And so this is payback. Coulson’s payback has not arrived yet, but it will. Instead this week, Hive made sure that Malick paid. The death he saw was not his, but his daughter’s. Hive sucked away all the life from her, leaving her and her “he’s a looker” foolishness lying as a pile of bones on the floor. (How do we explain that to maid service?) Malick knew somewhere deep down the last few weeks that he was losing control–that Hive was the one leading and he merely now a servant to the Inhuman self-styled God. But with the death of his daughter, all pretensions to the contrary are removed. The Malick line will die out–after all, I suppose it has served its purpose. Gideon will trudge grimly towards his coming fate, which probably won’t be much different than the one that befell his child.

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Side note: I like that the show brought back Whitehall for a minute in the flashbacks from Malick’s past. One of the things that annoyed many is the retconn that Hydra was somehow tied to this ancient cult of stone pullers and portal travelers. Along with defining Gideon’s betrayal, this also gave the show the chance to show how Hydra attracted those like the Malick crew, who then took over Hydra from the inside. But that, at the beginning it was a bit of a war between Whitehall’s vision of Hydra and Malick’s vision of Hydra. It’s just that in the end, Malick won.

Coulson: This is not Ward.
Daisy: Sure is creepy like Ward.

But let’s move on to Hive, an Inhuman who is proving to be an absorbing character, shall we say, and not just because he revealed himself to be a Medusa type purple thing whose face was kept away from the camera. The FitzSimmons hypothesis that the things that suck the flesh off the bones of Hive’s victims are not something Hive ejects at them, but are in fact Hive himself brings up an interesting way to read Giyera’s behavior. If Hive is a parasite, then Giyera’s use of “we” suggests that he is not brainwashed. (Though SHIELD dismisses him as such, much to their detriment.) It suggests he *is* Hive, just as much as Ward is Hive. He is a true believer now because he is one with the Hive-mind, as it were. (Or as Marnifer put it: He didn’t drink the Koolaide. He IS the Koolaide.)

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Once we take see Giyera as an extension of Hive, suddenly his ability to outwit SHIELD in a way that no Inhuman has before makes more sense–after all, he is many memories and brains in one–like an Inhuman Borg, as it were. (By the way, how great was it to see Mark Dacascos–who was a martial arts performer before being cast as the Chairman on Iron Chef America–get a go with Ming-Na Wen? Their fight was cinema level quality on network. I would watch them do that all day.) Anyway, if this is true, then SHEILD is way more screwed than they realize–they think they’re dealing with Giyera the Inhuman, when in truth they’re just dealing with an extension of Hive, one who can access Ward’s mind, and outwit them.

James: Looks like you’re the muscles and the brains, huh? he’s just the haircut.

This idea that Hive basically acts as a single Hive-mind for all Inhumans also jives with what Daisy and Lincoln learned on their visit to exiled never actually turned Inhuman James. He was Alveus–created to commend the Inhuman army–how better to command an Army of Inhumans that to absorb and control all their minds as one? I’m actually sorry the character was a one-off, I kinda liked James–certainly way better than Lincoln. I would have liked to have seen what that crystal would have done to him and he turned. (Also, seriously, I know he’s off the grid, but hasn’t he heard all he needs to do is go on an all fish diet? No crystals necessary! Also I would have liked them to tell James that the thing is back, and he needs to help them save the world. They could use a guy who plants landmines on the Secret Warriors team, don’t you think?

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Speaking of the Secret Warriors, the show has finally decided it’s time to go there. With all the non-Inhuman SHIELD members captured by Giyera, with Hive and his pet Malick on the way to look in on them, Daisy and Lincoln are left to their own devices and call their team in Secret Warriors, Assemble!….err, Unite! Next week, we’ll get to see what they can do, and which one of them it is whose death Daisy saw.

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